Thursday, September 14, 2017

Rental Inspection Ordinance Lawsuit Dismissed

Rental Inspection Ordinance Lawsuit Dismissed

OSHKOSH, Wis. September 14, 2017 – The Winnebago Apartment Association and a group of landlords and tenants have dismissed their highly-publicized challenge to the City of Oshkosh Rental Inspection Ordinance.  

This lawsuit stemmed from the rollout of the Residential Rental Inspections Program in February 2017 that was designed to protect the health and safety of rental residents in the Oshkosh community. The Oshkosh Common Council approved the program on September 13, 2016.

“The City believes that the Rental Inspection Ordinance is an important tool for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of tenants, and protecting neighborhood property values,” said Community Development Director Allen Davis.

In January, a lawsuit was filed by the Winnebago Apartment Association, in which several landlords and a small number of tenants challenged the program. A federal judge in February denied the request for a preliminary injunction to stop the City from enforcing the ordinance and the City began enforcing the ordinance. City Attorney Lynn Lorenson stated that the Court had established deadlines in the lawsuit that were coming up and the plaintiff’s attorney contacted the city’s attorneys suggesting a settlement.

In the settlement, the plaintiffs dismissed their claims and both parties agreed that each party would remain responsible for their own costs related to the suit. The City’s insurance carrier covered the City’s costs.

City inspectors have conducted nearly 300 inspections, and in many have identified issues that could have caused safety and health concerns. Landlords have cooperated to address these conditions to keep their tenants safe. Some of these conditions have included missing or nonfunctional carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, exposed wiring, leaking plumbing fixtures, and unsafe exits. The cost of the rental inspections are the responsibility of the landlord.

“We want to encourage rental tenants who want to ensure the health and safety of their fellow tenants and families to contact our Inspections Division if they would like a rental inspection,” said Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings.

The City of Oshkosh will continue to conduct inspections of residential housing, and encourages the public to call the Inspections Division to schedule an inspection. Tenants can schedule an inspection for a time that works best for them.

For more information about the Residential Rental Inspections Program and a list of specific items inspectors look for during an inspection, visit the city website,, or call the Inspections Division at (920) 236‐5054.


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